Monday 26 May 2014

Easton Europeans

BBC Home Affairs editor Mark Easton was doing his pro-EU/pro-immigration thing on BBC One's main news bulletin this evening. 

Allow me to paraphrase: Our history is one of waves of European migration. We've always resented European invasions though [except for William of Orange's invasion in 1688 - which Mark forgot about], but now we're much more continental in our ways than we realise. 

Yes, we've changed. We used to be naff, now we're sophisticated - so sophisticated and European that the continentals are now flocking here to enjoy our new-found European sophistication. 

Happily for Mark, his first 'talking head' - former Fabian Society boss Sunder Katwala, now with 'Britain's Future' - agreed with him about all this. 

We then learned that the rich, broadsheet readers and graduates feel more 'European' now than they did ten years ago, while the poor, tabloid readers and those with no qualifications feel less connected to Europe - according to a BBC/Ipsos MORI's survey. 

From the figures quoted (21% 'more European', 18% 'less European'), I spotted an unspoken statistic [unspoken by Mark Easton that is]: that we BBC One viewers weren't given much of a clue as to what the remaining 61% of respondents think. 

Then came three 'vox pops' and, to me, they all sounded like pro-European/anti-Eurosceptic voices. 

The first - the one who got the longest soundbite - was very enthusiastic about 'Europe', ending with the words "I love Europe", while the third slammed us for being "hypocrites" about Europe, ending with the frankly bizarre words, "We've always withdrawn when the thing's got a bit tough." [Really?!? The Hundred Years War? The Napoleonic Wars? The Crimean War? WW1? WW2?] 

The problem with making a clinching point about BBC bias here is that I couldn't make head nor tale of what the second 'vox pop' said. 

I got the closing half - " Europe. We've got to be, haven't we?" - but not the first, which sounded for all the world like "I fibbly crispy wife in Europe." I've tried listening back about twenty times to try to decipher what he said, but I'm now torn between "I fibbly crispy wife in Europe" and "I fibbly crispy life in Europe." 

So he could have been making a Eurosceptic point, but "We've got to be, haven't we?" suggests not. 

I think we can be pretty certain though that Mark Easton's proselytizing tendencies came to the fore again in this report.


  1. Vox pop No.2 : "think we're drifting away from Europe now. We've got to be, ent* we".

    *Cockney variation of 'ain't'.

    1. Thanks Beeboidal. Watching it now it all makes sense. So 'crispy' was 'drifting'.

  2. I, too, love Europe, but I hate the EU.

    I do wish that the BBC (and others) would notice the difference.

    1. A good point.

      I remember an episode of Radio 4's 'Broadcasting House' a few years back when Paddy O'Connell was walking around Brussels with Daniel Hannan. (I wrote about it at the time). Paddy was asking him whether there was anything he liked about the city.

      Dan then launched into an impassioned paean to Flanders "which has produced for me the greatest art and portraiture in the corpus of human achievement".

      The BBC presenter replied, "I'm a bit surprised. I...I..thought...I...maybe I wouldn't tell me that."

      Dan responded "Like I say all Eurosceptics are terribly European. I read French novels, German philosophy and listen to Italian music, which is why it's sometimes a bit irksome to be told that we're xenophobes by people who would struggle with a French menu."


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.